Call failed: IRS supports repeal of un-enforced cell phone law

On Monday, I went on the Doug Stephan Show to express my outrage over a new plan by the IRS to start taxing employer-provided cell phones as a fringe benefit. Doug and I enjoyed a fun session of venting about greedy bureaucrats, and I explained why the idea made no sense in a post on WalletPOP.

Now the IRS and the Treasury Department have reversed course a week after the initial announcement, and are instead asking to repeal the widely-ignored law that requires employer-provided cell phone minutes used for personal calls to be taxed.

"The current law, which has been on the books for many years, is burdensome, poorly understood by taxpayers, and difficult for the IRS to administer consistently," IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said in a statement. "The passage of time, advances in technology, and the nature of communication in the modern workplace have rendered this law obsolete."

Actually what made it obsolete was the fact that it was widely ignored -- which was the whole reason your plan to start enforcing it made headlines, Mr. Shulman.

To recap: The IRS spent countless hours -- and in all probability, millions of taxpayer dollars -- discussing ways to enforce this law that is ignored. Now the IRS has decided that it's right that the law is ignored, but apparently that isn't good enough: Now it wants the Congress to spend hours to repeal a law that is already ignored.

Couldn't a lot of time have been saved by just continuing to ignore the law? What exactly was the problem? Why did this need to become an issue?

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